Daily Archives: 9 August 2005

Serving You

It seems that we are hit by so many ads that most times we don’t even notice them. But sometimes we do.

For example, I went to a
news site recently to read a story about a judge who will
rule on a case in which his or her recent pay raise is the
issue in dispute. That’s an interesting situation because it
appears to be a conflict of interest.

But what caught my eye was an ad that the news site was
serving. First, let me say that I realize that web pages can
be created that are tailored, in one way or another, to the
individual viewing the page. I think the best known examples
are Google ads that appear based on the terms you are
searching on.

So, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that at least one
other site seems to be keying in on who you are by, I think,
parsing your domain in the hope of selling you something. The
ad below is the one that appeared on the site:


The ad is for a national chain of electronics super stores
that recently opened in Hawaii. I have to give them credit
for tailoring the ads such that it is at least geographically
relevant. In fact, the ad is also relevant to me because of my
interest in electronics (though, I assume, they have no
direct way of knowing that). So full marks for that.

But I’m troubled by the ad for two reasons. The first is
the phrase “Experience a luau of the latest technology.”
Perhaps I’m overly sensitive, but I don’t appreciate mainland
chains coming here and acting as if they are
kama’aiana (literally, child of the land or island).
In my opinion, it is rather presumptuous to assume you fit in
just because you throw a Hawaiian word into your ad. I mean,
if I went to parts of Los Angeles and tried throwing out
Spanish phrases I might have my head handed to me in pretty
quick order.

The second problem I have is I think it’s a little creepy
to tailor ads. I like to think the Internet is a vast
anonymous sea. While I realize this isn’t necessarily true,
and becoming less so everyday, nonetheless my privacy is
something I take seriously. So I don’t appreciate sites
trying to figure out who I am so that they can sell more
goods or services.

Oh well, as I said, maybe I’m just overly sensitive about
these things.